Repairing Rebuilding Reimagining
Table of Contents 3
From the Bishop
Repairing, Rebuilding, Reimagining
Exploring Common Mission: Reflecting on a Year-Long Conversation
Spiritual Discernment as a Way of Life
Episcopalians 18-40 Create Community & Nurture Faith
The 120th Diocesan Convention
Book Review - Passionate for Justice: Ida B. Wells as Prophet for Our Time
Around the Diocese
From the Archives
ABUNDANT Times is the official news publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts. The diocesan offices are located at: 37 Chestnut Street Springfield, MA, 01103-1787 Call us: (413) 737-4786 Visit us: www.diocesewma.org Follow us: @EpiscopalWMA
The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher IX Bishop of Western Massachusetts, Publisher The Rev. Vicki Ix Managing Editor Alison Gamache Layout and Copy Editor
At Diocesan House
The Rev. Dr. Richard M. Simpson Canon to the Ordinary Susan Olbon Canon for Administration The Rev. Vicki Ix Canon for Communications
The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith Missioner for Spirituality and Leadership The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas Missioner for Creation Care The Rev. Christopher Carlisle Director, Building Bridges Veterans Initiative The Rev. Jennifer Gregg Missioner for Servant Leadership The Rev. José Reyes Missioner for Hispanic/Latino Ministries The Rev. Meredyth Ward Urban Missioner for Worcester
Cover photo: Unsplash @adampatterson
From the Bishop The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher IX Bishop of Western Massachusetts
much in 15 months of COVID-19 and now God was doing something new (Isaiah 43:19). And it began with recommitment to our baptisms.
here were two events in June when I felt - really felt - that our beloved Church was coming out of the pandemic. The first was June 6th when so many gathered under a tent at Christ the King-Epiphany in Wilbraham for confirmation and reception. For several months of the pandemic, a clergy team had prepared people for this day with an excellent course done weekly over Zoom.
The theme of this issue of ABUNDANT Times (and Diocesan Convention) is “Repairing. Rebuilding. Reimagining.” I’m grateful to our team who came up with this theme. As we repair, rebuild, and reimagine Church, we need to add another “re” word. We need to “recommit” - recommit to our God who was ever present to the Hebrews as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and who has been with us in our wilderness for the past 17 months; to Jesus and his Mission of Mercy, Compassion, and Hope; and to the Holy Spirit who is always leading us to newness.
The second time was late June at our Cathedral. We received several people into the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement. Then I invited anyone who wanted to reaffirm their baptismal commitment to come up individually and hear the words: “God has begun a good work in you. May Jesus continue to be your hope and inspiration.” Every person at both the English and Spanish services came forward. Every single one! These two gatherings felt like Resurrection. We had been through so
When we were baptized, this prayer was said for us: “Give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and persevere, a spirit to know and love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works.” The Book of Common Prayer, 308.
We are not yet the post-pandemic church, but we know we have been changed. Our work now is repairing relationships, rebuilding community and reimagining ministry. We will know “joy and wonder” as we engage the mystery with a spirit of curiosity about where the Spirit is leading us. Joy was so abundant at those liturgies of recommitment. I’m still filled with wonder at how quickly the vaccines were developed and mass-produced. I am in awe of the sacrifices so many have made for the greater good. And so we pray: “Renew in these your servants the covenant you made with them at their baptism. Send us forth in the power of that Spirit to perform the service you set before us; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives, and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” The Book of Common Prayer, 309. ♦ +Doug
During the pandemic, God has given us “the courage to will and persevere.” It has been hard, but I know that closing our buildings while keeping the mission of the church wide open saved lives. Today I hope we can be guided by the rest of that prayer. May we have “inquiring and discerning hearts.”
Bishop Fisher receives Allyson Michal into The Episcopal Church, supported by the Rev. Dr. Molly Scherm and the Rev. Heather Blais, rector. Photo: Rev. Tanya Wallace
REPAIRING REBUILDING REIMAGINING 4
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Photo: Unsplash @adampatterson
ur convention theme this year refers to the work of the Church in the midst of a global pandemic. We are rebuilding community, repairing relationships, and reimagining mission. The stories submitted make concrete how adaptation, creativity, and new technologies have enabled joyful and transformative ministry to continue – even when we could not physically gather, or moved the action outside. While we mark the personal losses of COVID-19, the deaths, the disruption, and
St. Andrew's Reimagines Mission with a Good News Garden Jen Greene St. Andrew's, Longmeadow
n our work of reimagining mission at St. Andrew’s, and in response to social distancing while wanting to help our neighbors, we decided to start a Good News Garden. Longmeadow provides some open land for residents to garden. Our parish was able to secure 1,000 square feet of a tilled, sunny plot in the Community Garden for a very small annual stipend. This plot gives our parishioners a chance to connect with others in a COVID-safe way, while growing food for others. We are partnering with Rachel’s Table, a program of the Jewish Federation of
the disappointments, we can rejoice in the elasticity of the Jesus Movement and the faithfulness of Holy Spirit in our time. We are grateful to the congregations who answered our call for content. These three communities found new ways be the Church and be present in a time of profound absence. I thank you for sharing your good news with our diocese. ♦ - The Rev. Vicki Ix, Managing Editor
Western Massachusetts, to distribute everything we grow to local food pantries, soup kitchens, and other feeding programs. This new mission ministry in our community can feed the hungry, partner with local community organizations, and engage local gardeners, and best of all, call our parish back to the earth. We began with a core group of church volunteers who gathered supplies, solicited donations, planted the starter plants, set up the irrigation system, laid down mulch and weed
control, fertilized the plot, and pruned plants as needed. We provide the parish with weekly updates in the church bulletin and regularly ask for help with the weeding and donations of lawn mower clippings for mulch and weed control. Another benefit of this project is increased visibility and outreach for our parish. Each time we visit the garden plot, we talk to the other local residents tending their plots. We always make new friends, talk about the church and its various ministries, and even have donations coming in from outside our parish. Many of the gardeners don’t use all of the produce they grow and are delighted to learn about donating their extra vegetables to our distributor. It’s a big win all around. This is our first year with this ministry and we’re very excited about the possibilities for service and outreach. We’ll learn a lot these first few years, and we’re off to a great start. ♦ ABUNDANT TIMES
Repairing, Rebuilding, Reimagining
Rebuilding Community Online and Outdoors in Milford The Rev. Judith Lee Trinity Church, Milford
he constraints of the pandemic brought out Trinity, Milford’s creativity as we found new ways to continue the work that’s important to us. Virtual meetings gave Trinity the opportunity to collaborate with other congregations and members of the community in Spiritual Formation for all ages. 20 adults from Trinity; St. Matthew’s, Worcester; the United Parish of Upton; and the Milford community participated in Sacred Ground, a program from the Beloved Community. We collaborated with St. Stephen’s, Westborough on a Lenten study of /Ladder to the Light/ by Steven Charleston, and we have an ongoing monthly “Meditation, Movement, and Music” on Zoom led by a member of Trinity and a friend of the parish. We also partnered with St. Matthew’s, Worcester and the United Parish of Upton for a virtual Sunday School and hybrid Vacation Bible Camp. This enabled us to share costs for curriculum and an additional Zoom account, and to share teaching responsibilities. Attendance grew from four to twelve children in grades K through 6.
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We reimagined ways to reach the wider community with online sales, an online “Twelve Days of Christmas” Raffle, and takeout lunches. The separation during the pandemic was particularly painful for a congregation that finds its joy and fellowship when we gather for meals. In the early days of the pandemic, we
rebuilt fellowship by holding weekly Family Game Nights and Bingo, and “Zoom chats” twice weekly. Throughout 2020, we hosted Zoom listening sessions as we prepared our Parish Profile. When we returned to in-person worship, our front garden became an “outdoor cafe” for coffee hour. ♦
Music Feeds More than the Soul
Over 130 patrons gathered under the pavilion and on the lawn to listen to music by Haydn, Brahms, Mozart, and Duke Ellington, played by our string quartet and guest soloist, William R. Hudgins, principal clarinetist of the BSO. Photo: Joe Kolodziej
Trudy Weaver Miller Christ Trinity Church, Sheffield
ich Gate Concerts is a new concert series which grew out of the confluence of two pandemicrelated situations: 1) access to a very talented NY-based violinist & concert master, Jorge Ávila, who spent the pandemic in the Berkshires as there was no work anywhere, and 2) food insecurity within our community due to the pandemic, school closings, and loss of jobs. When the country shut down in March 2020, 65 families in our local school district had been receiving two meals a day for their children through the school. The school district continued supplying meals by keeping a very small kitchen staff working and delivering these meals. These families were disproportionately affected by the pandemic in that parents mostly worked in area restaurants and services, which were forced to close. The Rev. Erik Karas, rector of Christ Trinity, put out a call-to-action to the community to help these families with meals over the weekends, which in turn, helped struggling area restaurants. Folks called a particular restaurant and paid for meals for families over the phone, and the school arranged for pickup and delivery. Erik then wrote a grant proposal which received over $18,000 from Berkshire United Way to support this program and a new one focusing on the elders in our community, using a few more restaurants and galvanizing many volunteers to deliver the meals to elders. Because there had been church
and community relationship building before the pandemic, it was much easier to put together new and more diverse alliances as non-profit social services and health-related organizations became involved in supporting communities during the pandemic. In September 2020, with the help of Jorge Ávila and his string quartet, Christ Trinity presented two performances under the open-air pavilion in the Sheffield Town Park. These performances netted an additional $8,000 for “Feeding Sheffield,” a program that continues to this day. As the country began to emerge from COVID-19, Christ Trinity decided to start its own concert series, and Lich Gate Concerts was born. A lich gate, also spelled lych gate, is a covered gateway found at the entrance to a traditional English or Englishstyle churchyard. It marks the transi-
tion from the secular world into the sacred. Christ Trinity has an exquisite one, designed and built of stone and wood in 1970, and which stands as a unique and well-known edifice on the property. This concert series seeks to transport us from the humdrum of regular life and into the realm of music, which has the power to speak directly to our souls. The first concert of the new series was on June 12, 2021, and was held under the pavilion in the town park, where enthusiastic patrons heard music by Haydn, Brahms, Mozart, and Duke Ellington, played by the string quartet and guest soloist, William R. Hudgins, principal clarinetist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A second concert featuring the string quartet was held on Saturday, September 4, and a new season is in the planning stages. ♦
Exploring Common Mission: Reflecting on a Year-Long Conversation
The task force gathered for lunch. Not pictured: the Rev. Heather Blais. Photo: submitted
In November 2020, the bishops of both diocese convened the Task Force for Exploring Common Mission, and the group met regularly in the following months. Their charge from the bishops was to be in dialogue and prayer for a year about what 8
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collaborations and, potentially, what more formal institutional structures might warrant more exploration. The task force will share their findings with both dioceses for further discernment at their diocesan conventions. ♦
The Rev. Nathaniel Anderson St. John's, Williamstown
ur work focused on exploring where our dioceses are currently partnering, areas where further collaboration could be possible, as well as looking at models throughout the Episcopal church for work among dioceses. Examples we looked at included dioceses sharing a ministry or canonically required committee, a large diocese with multiple bishops, and two mediumsized dioceses sharing a single bishop and staff. Though none of those
three examples would necessarily work in Massachusetts, they showed us the great diversity of expression and appetite for experimentation throughout the church. The most personal and universal experience of the group was how close we all became. We quickly made room for vulnerability and for honest, holy conversation. We were surprised to learn how little we knew about each other's diocese. Misconceptions were corrected, prejudices put to bed, and instead
real learning and growth could occur. As we wrap up our work and prepare to present our findings to our respective conventions, we do so with deep gratitude for this opportunity. And while we won’t be presenting a blueprint for what we think the Episcopal Church in the Commonwealth should look like in the future, we do feel we’ve gotten a hold of several important insights that will be of benefit as our bishops and our dioceses lead us into the future. ♦
Four people from each diocese, lay and ordained, comprised the Task Force for Exploring Common Mission. Serving from the Diocese of Western Massachusetts
• The Rev. Nathaniel Anderson, St. John’s Church, Williamstown, Co-Chair • The Rev. Heather Blais, Saints James and Andrew, Greenfield • Ms. Trudy Weaver Miller, Christ Church, Sheffield • Mr. Mark Rogers, Church of the Reconciliation, Webster • The Rev. Dr. Richard Simpson, Canon to the Ordinary, staff liaison
Serving from the Diocese of Massachusetts
• Ms. Claudette Hunt, St. Andrew’s Church, Ayer, Co-Chair • The Rev. Julie Carson, St. Andrew’s Church, Framingham • The Hon. Judith Dilday, St. Cyprian’s Church, Roxbury • The Rev. Pam Werntz, Emmanuel Church, Boston • The Rev. Canon William Clay Parnell, Canon to the Ordinary, staff liaison ♦ The two Canons to the Ordinary, the Rev. Dr. Richard Simpson and the Rev. William Parnell. Photo: submitted
Spiritual Discernment as a Way of Life: An Introduction to Loving the Questions Craig Hammond Diocesan Evangelist Photo: Rev. Jenny Gregg
oving the Questions is a spiritual community of discernment in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, and has recently partnered with the Diocese of Massachusetts. This new and growing ministry is entering its sixth year. The Loving the Questions community serves as a gateway prerequisite for those considering ordination, but importantly has evolved into a fullfledged discernment space for the Church laity in full — not simply those considering ordination. In his The Conferences with the desert monastics in the late fourth century, John Cassian notes that no virtue or action can be attained or fulfilled without the grace of discernment. And as Jesus teaches in the Gospel of John, he can do nothing of himself, unless it is something he discerns the Father doing. Lois Lindbloom of the Shalem Institute describes spiritual discernment as the process of prayerful attention to one’s life in order to clarify and cooperate with God’s activity.
oving the Questions is a community of discernment that honors the Spirit’s call whether you are considering lay or ordained ministry. It is open to all members of parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Diocese of Massachusetts. The meeting format supports both English and Spanish speakers. Each year brings a new group of participants with their own unique wants, needs, and questions. A core, guiding spiritual principle is that none of us know exactly where the Spirit is leading us, whether we're
Our yearly gatherings begin each year in September and close in March, but participants find that as our time ends in March that discernment has only just begun. Discernment is much, much more than simply figuring out what one’s role or ministry in the church is. Discernment is a way of being that leads toward greater cooperation with God’s work in our lives. Discernment is a grace, and a way of life. What does this look like in practice? Certainly this is a question we love, and one that we are continually living into in new ways. The heartbeat of last year’s Loving the Questions cohort was rooted in small groups that gathered twice a month on Wednesday evenings to articulate our hearts to one another. Much like the framework of the Quaker Clearness Committee, we are learning to center our engagement in prayerful silence and holy listening to one another. ♦
participants or facilitators. Thus, we are on a path of discovery together, and much of how we engage and what we include is up to what the Spirit reveals along the way. Attention is given to: • Growing into a deeper understanding of your unique calling • Gaining clarity about your unique calling • Identifying supports in terms of people and tools necessary for your calling • Developing a plan of formation for your calling
Find out more:
Prospective participants often assume that Loving the Questions is targeted mainly to those seeking holy orders (ordination as a priest or deacon). This is far from our reality. Our discernment community serves anyone exploring their unique vocation — those considering ordained or non-ordained ministry. T he aim is to prayerfully listen to God and support one another toward understanding one’s unique calling. God’s church body is vast, the possibilities of service are infinite, and the needs of the world require vocations that certainly surpass the roles of priest and deacons. ♦
www.LovingTheQuestions.org ABUNDANT TIMES
Episcopalians 18-40 Create Community & Nurture Faith Will Harron Network Organizer Logo: Allison Bird Treacy
n the past year, you may have seen ads on Facebook, in the diocesan newsletter Mission Matters, and elsewhere in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts for a Young Adult Ministry Network. This exciting new ministry is the result of collaboration between young Episcopalians, campus ministers, Lawrence House, and beloved mentors. We began talking over Zoom in the summer of 2020, hoping to build a new ministry. Inspired by diocesewide work in our neighboring Diocese of Massachusetts, we hoped that a similar flowering of young adult ministry could be enabled by stronger coordination between those who minister with young adults as well as through better-resourced outreach and empowerment of young adults themselves. These conversations revealed a hunger for connection; we began meeting monthly and,
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needing something to call ourselves, we settled (for now) on the Young Adult Ministry Network, or YAMN for short. Last winter, we applied for a grant from the Episcopal Church’s Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry. The award, which was generously matched by the diocese in February 2021, funded us for a year. The funding provided us with a program budget to put on more ambitious events and allow us to offer hospitality to young adults we meet. It also allowed me to be paid quarter-time for my organizing work and to devote more time to connecting people with the ministry. Furthermore, the funding offered us hope that the wider church sees this sort of ministry as something worth financially supporting. In the Episcopal church, “young adult” can mean anyone under the age of forty or sometimes even under fifty. Even the intentionally broad definition used by the network, of people between 18 and 40, still encompasses a wide array of people and life experiences. College students, young people not in college, young professionals and early-career adults, young parents; all are
people who are underrepresented in church leadership and budget lines. Ideally, these cohorts would each have resources addressed to their faith lives and needs, but in a time of smaller budgets, we use methods of faith-rooted community organizing to connect and empower leaders in all of these cohorts, growing our capacity as well as our presence in the diocese. Currently, the network offers multiple strands of engagement. At our monthly Zoom meeting, people who minister with young adults and those who want to help steer the network meet to check in, share ministry resources from different corners of the diocese, plan events, and connect with each other. Our Discord server, an app-based platform that allows for voice, video, and text communication, is a central location for young adults to connect, including channels for prayer request, job opportunities, and upcoming events. We held a small bible study using the app during the summer, and a small group currently meets weekly using it. Finally, our network events are a third way of engaging with the network. Through Advent Vespers in December 2020, Lent Godly Play in February and March 2021, and monthly Zoom Evening Prayer in Summer 2021, a variety of online and in-person events have helped to build
our platform, connect young adults to the ministry and each other, and created space for prayer, fellowship, and the visible presence of young adults in the diocese and the church.
the network might grow.
A strength of the ministry has been in activating new leaders - an attendee at one event might have an idea that leads to them Most recently, ten young adults leading the next were able to be together in-person event - and the for our largest event yet. Through retreat will hopea Ministry Development Grant, we fully prove to be no were able to visit the Barbara C. different, leading Harris Camp and Conference Center to the next wave in Greenfield, New Hampshire for a of worship, fellowretreat weekend of fellowship, prayer, ship, and formation and relaxation. Some attendees took opportunities in the leadership of the weekend’s worship, network. Ultimately, others offered workshops on artistic centering young rituals and contemplative worship, adults in leadership, others got the fire started at the enabling them to campfire for s’mores, kayaked in the access resources, lake, and engaged in wide-ranging and planting the meal discussions about young adult seeds of commufaith life, theology, and what ways nity, is one way the
church can create the conditions of multigenerational flourishing and make itself a home for all people. ♦
“One day when Francis went out to meditate in the fields he was passing by the church of San Damiano which was threatening to collapse because of extreme age. Inspired by the Spirit, he went inside to pray. Kneeling before an image of the Crucified, he was filled with great fervor and consolation as he prayed. While his tear-filled eyes were gazing at the Lord’s cross, he heard with his bodily ears a voice coming from the cross, telling him three times: ‘Francis, go and repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin.’ ...He began zealously to repair the church materially, although the principle intention of the words referred to that Church which Christ purchased with his own blood, as the Holy Spirit afterward made him realize....” ♦ From Bonaventure’s Life of Francis
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120th Diocesan Convention November 6, 2021
onvention this year will be conducted primarily online on Saturday, November 6, with a required pre-Convention meeting on Thursday, November 4. There is no charge, but registration is required so that we may accurately track delegate status, issue voting credentials, and communicate with delegates at their preferred email address. ♦
Thursday, November 4th 6:00pm - Required Pre-Convention Meeting for Delegates Where: Zoom • An important introduction to Saturday’s main Convention business meeting, this session is required for all delegates. • There will be Zoom and Simply Voting tutorials, and an introduction to the Convention website. • The annual Budget Hearing will follow the main content for anyone interested in hearing more about diocesan finance
Saturday, November 6th 8:30am - Convention Morning Prayer Where: Diocesan YouTube channel • Guest Preacher: The Right Reverend Alan M. Gates, Bishop Diocesan, Diocese of Massachusetts
9:30am - The 120th Diocesan Convention Where: Zoom • Convention business, broadcast from the cathedral • Limited in-person assembly for MP & Convention (fullvaccination & masks required).
Scan to Register:
he Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop Diocesan is the 16th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
He is a Massachusetts native and graduate of Middlebury College. Prior to seminary he was a Russian language translator, researcher and intelligence analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense, including a tour of duty at the State Department. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and was ordained to the priesthood in 1988. He served congregations in the Episcopal dioceses of Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts and Chicago prior to his call to Ohio in 2004. He was the rector of St. Paul's Church in Cleveland Heights until his election as bishop in 2014. Bishop Gates was ordained and consecrated a bishop on Sept. 13, 2014. Bishop Gates is currently on the board of the Anglican Theological Review. He serves on the Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on World Mission, and is a member of Bishops United Against Gun Violence. ♦ (Source: www.diomass.org)
The Bishop Encourages Congregations to Join #faiths4climate Action
he Season of Creation has just ended and COP26 begins in Glasgow on November 1. On October 17th, people of diverse religions will rise to send a message: destroying the planet is against our religions. I encourage every Episcopal congregation to consider being part of Faiths 4 Climate. People of faith are needed to give witness to hope. We can make new choices for the world – even now – today. God is with us. God is for us. Let’s use our faith for the climate. ♦ +Doug
Find an event in our diocese:
What is COP26? • COP26 is the 2021 United Nations climate change conference. • For nearly three decades, the UN has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits – called COPs – which stands for "Conference of the Parties". In that time climate change has gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority. • This year will be the 26th annual summit – giving it the name COP26. With the UK as President, COP26 takes place in Glasgow. • In the run up to COP26, the UK is working with every nation to reach agreement on how to tackle 16
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climate change. World leaders will arrive in Scotland, alongside tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens for twelve days of talks. • The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. ♦ (From www.ukcop26.org)
October 31 - November 12, 2021 What are the Goals of COP26? 1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.
The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects.
To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to: • accelerate the phase-out of coal • curtail deforestation • speed up the switch to electric vehicles • encourage investment in renewables.
At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to: • protect and restore ecosystems • build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods, and even lives.
3. Mobilise finance
4. Work together to deliver
To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020.
We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together.
International financial institutions must play their part and we need work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.
At COP26, we must: • finalise the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational) • accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses, and civil society. ♦
Book Review - Passionate for Justice: Ida B. Wells as Prophet for Our Time Reviewed by J. Scott Jackson
da B. Wells, the intrepid anti-lynching journalist and women’s suffragist, rarely shied away from confronting injustice. In this provocative and timely work, co-authors Catherine Meeks (a retired African American professor of socio-cultural studies) and Nibs Stroupe (a white Protestant pastor) lift up Wells as a model of and catalyst for the essential conversations on justice that press upon church and society today. Wells’ life and witness, as Meeks writes, forces us to confront the question: “What does it mean to be a liberated person?” (p. ix). Meeks, who directs the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, and Stroupe, retired from a long pastorate at the multicultural Oakhurst Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Georgia, are prolific author-educators, who both grew up in segregation-era Arkansas. Their life-projects converge in this profile that retrieves Wells’ voice as the legacy of white supremacy and repression continue to echo today in mass incarcerations and in the extra-judicial killings carried out by police that have ignited nationwide protests. In these essays, the authors interweave their personal stories with those of Wells, offering critical analyses and historical context along the way. Each chapter ends with questions to facilitate individual and group reflection. Meeks and Stroupe admit openly-shared differences of perspective that have enriched their
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conversations and helped keep each of them real. “It is critically important for all people, whether white or people of color, to learn how to have honest conversations about issues of race without seeing the difficult parts of these conversations as an invitation to vacate the path to healing,” Meeks writes (p. x). The authors are not naively sanguine about the long, arduous struggle by which we inch toward equality and reconciliation. Indeed, Well’s own life-long quest to express her full humanity shows the importance of engaging battles whose outcomes we may never see in our own lifetimes. Ida B. Wells was born in 1862 in Mississippi, the daughter of an enslaved man who later would found a school for freed African Americans. After both her parents succumbed to Yellow Fever, Wells, then 16 years old, raised her younger siblings, taking on a teaching job in Memphis to support them. Once while commuting, she refused an order to move to the “black” train car. It took several white men to forcibly eject her from the train. She sued, and a lower court vindicated her, only to have that ruling devastatingly reversed on appeal. When three of her friends were lynched in Memphis in 1892, Wells embarked on a critical investigation documenting and exposing hundreds of lynchings, debunking the widespread lie that these murders were
Passionate for Justice: Ida B. Wells as Prophet for Our Times By Catherine Meeks and Nibs Stroupe. Foreword by Stacey Abrams. Church Publishing, 160 pages, $19.95.
necessary to keep black male sexuality in check; her reporting named them for what they were -- acts of white supremacist terrorism. After a blistering editorial in her Memphis paper Free Speech, her office was burned down and a price put on her head. She moved to New York and continued her journalism, lecturing twice in Great Britain. She continued to write books against lynching, and her unfinished autobiography was published posthumously. Wells married Chicago attorney Ferdinand Barnett, a widower with whom she raised his two children and four
more they had together. Immersed also in the burgeoning women’s suffrage movement, she faced the reticence of white feminist leaders to affirm her leadership, supposedly for fear of alienating Southern white sisters in the movement. She bristled when her compatriot Susan B. Anthony upbraided Wells for her “divided duty,” which (supposedly) pitted her family obligations against her activist vocation. Wells, as Meeks writes, understood the existential rift women of color have had to endure -- confronting the sexism in the racial justice movement, and racism in the feminist struggle -- while being effaced by stereotypes of women of color as “exceptional” and somehow immune to pain. A founding member of the NAACP (though her name was excluded from the leadership list), Wells also suffered marginalization from some civil rights leaders wary of
her political radicalism. She exhorted President Woodrow Wilson to rescind discriminatory policies in the U.S. Army. Through trying times she persisted, working to organize women’s clubs for African American women and groups to aid the massive numbers of African Americans migrating north after the end of Reconstruction. Meeks emphasizes that Wells was a fallible, fraught human -- no plastic saint -- who was able to do extraordinary things through her tenacious courage, which we are invited to emulate. Meeks argues that the journey toward liberation begins with intensive personal, inner examination. AfricanAmericans, in particular, must name and dismantle the internalized racist projections that falsify their humanity, and they must affirm their true identities as graced children of God. In a
Stroupe writes: “It is so difficult to talk about race in America because we who are white continue to want to deny its power in our own individual and structural and institutional lives.”
parallel vein, Stroupe writes: “It is so difficult to talk about race in America because we who are white continue to want to deny its power in our own individual and structural and institutional lives” (p. 97). Stroupe shares how, in his own formation, it was the same loving and God-fearing family and church members who inculcated in him the corrosive ideology that people of color were inferior and, thus, that segregation and white supremacy were legitimate. Far more than mere individual prejudice and opinions, racism stands among the legion corporate principalities and powers that the New Testament labeled as demonic. Confronting these forces entails repenting of the myriad ways, typically unconscious, that they have shaped us and we continue to perpetuate them -- exhibited, for example, in the discomfort that many white people feel when people of color exercise real agency and authority. We must be willing to make reparations for past and present wrongs if we are to hope to glimpse the Beloved Community, where all human beings will stand together as equals. Along this path, Ida B. Wells is among the great cloud of witnesses whose prophetic word we ignore at our peril. ♦ J. Scott Jackson is an independent scholar and theologian who lives in Northampton.
Around the Diocese
Ordinations Anna Woofenden
to the Sacred Order of Deacons April 17, 2021
to the Sacred Order of Priests September 25, 2021
nna is originally from Washington state and currently lives in Northampton MA. St. John’s Episcopal Church, Northampton is her sponsoring parish. (Anna was strongly supported by St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal in San Francisco, where she started her journey with The Episcopal Church).
Anna is the founder and co-host of the Food and Faith Podcast, and the author of This is God’s Table: Finding Church Beyond the Walls. She is passionate about being the church in our current time and context, matters of justice (especially around food, environment, poverty, housing and race), liturgy, and young adults. ♦
eter has roots in the Capital region of New York and is trained as a classroom teacher, school psychologist, and school leader.
While teaching, he discerned the need to more deeply engage the scriptures and church history. Peter began attending Yale Divinity Schools in 2015 and completed an internship at St. Andrews Church in Albany, NY. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and a Diploma in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School in 2020. Peter has served Trinity Episcopal Church, Lenox as a seminarian and transitional deacon. ♦
Phillip Haywood Shearin
Joel Antonio Martinez
to the Sacred Order of Priests May 22, 2021
to the Sacred Order of Priests May 22, 2021
hillip's call to ordained ministry was supported by the people of All Saints', South Hadley. He served there as Pastoral Associate for Lawrence House Service Corps. Phillip studied history at Hampton University and went to Seminary at Trinity College, University of Toronto. He completed a Chaplain Residency Program at Duke University Hospital and is a certified Healthcare Ethics Consultant (HEC-C) currently serving on the Ethics Committee at Mt Auburn Hospital. Currently in the Masters of Bioethics program at the University of Pennsylvania, Phillip serves as a hospice chaplain with Beth Israel Lahey Health at Home. ♦
oel was born in the city of Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic. Joel was engaged in congregational ministry as treasurer of his local church, eventually serving as Senior Warden. In mid-2015, he took the necessary steps to enter the Dominican Episcopal Church Seminary. His call to ordained ministry was supported by Father Emilio Martin and San Pedro y San Pablo church. Joel came to Springfield, MA in May of 2018 to begin serving at Christ Church Cathedral. Under the direction of Dean Tom Callard, he has been preaching and engaged in pastoral care. ♦
Photos, both pages: submitted
ABU NDANT TIMES
Welcome to Western Massachusetts Rev. Michael Hamilton
Rev. John Lein
Holy Spirit Episcopal Church Sutton
Trinity Episcopal Church Milford
ishop Fisher welcomed the Rev. Michael Hamilton to the diocesan community of deacons on March 1st and assigned him to serve the people of Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, Sutton, alongside the Rev. Laura Goodwin, rector.
he people of Trinity Episcopal Church, Milford have called the Rev. John Elliott Lein to serve as rector, effective August 1st. John came to the priesthood after a career in media/design. His university training (2002) was in Digital Media with a focus on Computer Animation and a minor in Illustration.
As a graduate of the Diocese of Massachusetts School of Deacons, Michael was ordained in 2007 and has served three congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. Michael also served for six years as archdeacon with the Ven. Patricia Zifcak, who directs the School for Deacons. Together they addressed education, placement, and the pastoral concerns of the deacons in the Diocese of Massachusetts. ♦
The call to priesthood led John to Virginia Theological Seminary where he received the Master of Divinity degree, with an emphasis on Spirituality. After ordination in 2020, he accepted a call to serve as Priest-in-Charge at St. Thomas a Becket Episcopal Church in the Diocese of West Virginia. ♦
Rev. Cristina Rathbone
Rev. Martha Sipe
Grace Episcopal Church Great Barrington
Christ the King-Epiphany Wilbraham
he people of Grace Church, an Episcopal community in the Southern Berkshires, have called the Rev. Cristina Rathbone to serve as their third rector, effective August 1st.
Tina served Boston’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul for ten years. As Canon Missioner there, she worked primarily with homeless and marginally housed people. Tina went on to develop The Bridge Chaplaincy with the Diocese of the Rio Grande, helping them find ways to serve migrants and asylum seekers along the international border between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso. She currently works with Episcopal Migration Ministries to launch Neighbor to Neighbor, a national network designed to connect Episcopal congregations with newly arrived asylum seekers in their own, local contexts. ♦
he people of Christ the King - Epiphany Church in Wilbraham have called Pastor Martha S. Sipe to serve as rector, effective August 16th. Christ the King - Epiphany is a community comprised of Lutherans and Episcopalians who have chosen life together.
Martha was ordained a Lutheran pastor in 1998 after receiving the M.Div. from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998. Martha has a B.A. in sacred music from Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA and M.M. in sacred music from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ. ♦
Christ Church Cathedral Installs Canon
Left to right: Canon Rich Simpson, Dean Tom Callard, Canon Joel Martinez, and Deacon Linda Taupier. Photo: Canon Rich Simpson
"I remind you that you are not the priest of the 12:15 service only. That is a vital part of the life of this congregation and of our diocese, for sure... but your work, the work we celebrate here today, is to be an integral part of this cathedral's ministry, a valued member of this whole congregation and of this whole diocese... we are all blessed by this ministry." - excerpt from sermon by The Rev. Dr. Richard M. Simpson, Canon to the Ordinary 22
ABU NDANT TIMES
Canon Joel gets a high-five. Photo: Christ Church Cathedral
Karen Warren Diocesan Archivist
ecently our Diocesan Chancellor, Don Allison, contacted me in regard to historical records of our parishes. He is currently working on a large project for our diocese— namely the work of obtaining Articles of Incorporation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for some 30 of our parishes. In the early ‘80s at the request of our sixth bishop, the Rt. Rev. Andrew Wissemann, some parish records were brought to the diocesan office, microfilmed, and returned to the respective parishes. Microfilms held in our archives include parish registers, sacramental records, and vestry minutes, although they are incomplete. The word “archives” likely conjures up thoughts such as these: old, dusty, moldy, damp, yellowed and crumbling paper, smelly books, and last but not least… “who cares about old records?” Our chancellor’s request is a perfect example of who cares: our diocese cares! Why keep old records, you might ask. Canon Rich Simpson and I discussed this a few weeks back—the answer is the importance of documenting our history. At the time, I didn’t have an answer to the question of why but here are some good reasons: • It is a good thing to be incorporated. This act can limit liability and protect assets. Incorporation requires proof that a business has existed continuously. Meeting minutes of governing bodies from your parish’s beginning is especially important to achieve this. • Lessons learned from history and re-thinking the past: saving our records, and knowing what and how things were done or handled in the past can lead us to a deeper understanding of how we ought to do things today. Some continuity is good. Some change is also good.
• Recording decision making plans, especially the wording of votes taken by committees and governing bodies. Keep your parish’s committee meeting minutes, as well as financial, personnel, property, insurance, and sacramental records. One day you will need some of this information. • Interest in the history of your parish. People are interested. Do you have a written history? If so, has it been updated recently? Our records here in the administrative offices of the diocese are very limited in comparison to our neighboring dioceses in Province One. Unfortunately, we sometimes think that today’s work is simply today’s work, not realizing that one year, five years, or 50 years from now, what we worked on today becomes our history. Have we recorded it? It is my guess that in the early days of our diocese, offices were either not well organized, did not exist, or did not have the staff to organize records. People did the best they could at the time. However, I’m quite certain that many records likely were kept in individuals’ homes. This is a bad practice. Please keep your parish records in your parish office, labeled, organized, well preserved, secured, and accessible to those who are authorized to search and view them. Also, a finding aid is indispensable. Are the records kept in order by year? Alphabetically? Who in your parish knows where they are located? Of the 10 years that I have kept records of diocesan archival inquires, the information requests have come from a variety of people: our chan-
From the Archives
Keeping Historical Records
cellors, parish priests, diocesan staff, professors working on research, former parishioners, relatives of an early archdeacon—even a local medical center. Sixty-four inquiries are recorded in these 10 years. It has been gratifying to furnish the requested information if available. Inquiries of the diocesan archives include information on: the history of the town of Greenfield; baptismal records; the history project of a parish; confirmation dates for parish transfer; articles of incorporation; parish property history; votes on mergers of parishes; research on mission work; and even history of the furniture donated by our diocese, now in the chapel at a local medical center. It is our hope that someone at your parish is keeping records of the business and history of the parish. On our website, you can find Records Management for Congregations: An Archives Manual for Episcopal Parishes and Missions, published by The Archives of the Episcopal Church. This may be used as a guide and resource. No one’s archive is expected to be perfect. Let me know if I can help in any way. ♦
Karen has served as diocesan archivist since 2010.
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts 37 Chestnut St. Springfield, MA 01103-1787
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